The Rivers State government says it can no longer continue to fund the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency, RSSDA, overseas scholarship.
State Commissioner of Agric, Ominim Jack gave the indication while addressing parents of the beneficiaries of the overseas scholarship in Port Harcourt.
Ominim Jack, who now doubles as the acting Executive Director of RSSDA said the state government could no longer sustain the scholarship scheme as a result of the current economic situation in the country.
She, however, proposed that the state government intends to transfer the students back to Nigeria and sustain the full scholarship of the returned students at either the University of Port Harcourt or the Rivers State University of Science and Technology.
The state government further said it will only fund students who were on their final year.
“I want to first of all let you know that the Governor, Nyesom Wike takes the education of our students very seriously. Today, we have to be realistic. We all know what is happening in Nigeria. We now have a dwindling revenue both from FAC and IGR. We all know our exchange rates.
“We are here to give a proposal to let you know that the state is committed to pay installmentally for all our final year students totalling almost 200.
“We are putting arrangements in place for students who are not in their final year to get transfer back to schools in Nigeria, especially in Rivers state with full scholarships,” she said.
The plan of the state government was greeted with grumblings, with the parents appealing to Governor Nyesom Wike to consider other means to sustain the overseas scholarship programme.
Some of the Parents told DAILY POST that the decision of the Rivers state government was backward.
“My child is studying in Canada. But how can somebody who is in her 3rd year now return to Nigeria just like that? The curriculum can never be the same. We do not agree with the proposal of governor Wike.”
Another parent said
“For almost one year now, the state government has stopped paying the students their allowance. And we have been taking responsibility for that. We won’t mind to continue but the government should just pay the school fees. It is a very bad decision to withdraw all the students and place them in schools in Port Harcourt. The Governor should not do that.”
Meanwhile, some students who recently returned from the United Kingdom as a result of the failure of the state government to pay their school fees told DAILY POST that they were traumatised by the recent development.